New suicide prevention training to support communities

  • Jonathan Coleman

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says the launch of Lifekeepers, a new suicide prevention training programme, will help communities build the capability and capacity to support people at risk of suicide.

“Suicide has a devastating ripple effect across communities, not just for those who die by suicide, but for their families, friends, colleagues, neighbours and the wider community,” says Dr Coleman.

“No single person or organisation can prevent suicide. It is a whole of society problem and we all need to be involved, from Government agencies to employers, friends and families.

“The Lifekeepers programme is about increasing participants’ understanding of suicide risk factors, helping them identify signs that an individual may be at risk of suicide and teaching them the skills to intervene safely and constructively.

“This programme has been developed with input from both clinical experts and academics as well as people who have dealt with suicide first hand.

“The first Lifekeepers workshops are starting this month and the full programme, once complete, will offer a range of modules including face-to-face workshops, online learning modules, refresher courses and post training follow-ups.”

The programme will be delivered throughout New Zealand by the national health provider Le Va free of charge and will focus on vulnerable communities. The training has been prepared for a New Zealand context and uses cultural health models and concepts.

“New Zealand has had a long-term commitment to suicide prevention, and recently consulted on a draft suicide prevention strategy,” says Dr Coleman.

“All submissions received during the consultation on the draft strategy are being collated and considered. The submissions will be incorporated into the final advice provided to the Government later this year and will help inform the wider mental health work currently underway.”

The Life keepers training programme receives $530,000 per year which is an increase of $250,000 per year from previous years.

The Government invested $224 million into mental health at Budget 2017. This includes $100 million which is being invested into 17 new initiatives which signal a move towards a great focus on prevention and earlier intervention, as well as building resilience.

This investment through Budget 2017 builds on the $1.4 billion spent on mental health and addiction services in the last year.